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Angels eke past White Sox, 5-4

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Carlos Rodón made a brief start, was greeted rudely by Mike Trout, and now points towards Thursday’s opener

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels
Big blow: Mike Trout hit a screaming meemie of a three-run homer to left in the first inning, putting the Angels up, 3-0.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Wherever the Chicago White Sox aren’t set in terms of roster configuration, do the last-minute battles really matter?

Ervin Santana in the No. 5 rotation spot, or Manny Bañuelos? Leury García starting in left field, or Daniel Palka (or, here’s a thought, Eloy Jiménez)? Alex Colomé has been named manager Ricky Renteria’s closer, so even the key late roles (Colomé closing, Kelvin Herrera and Jace Fry setting up) are settled.

Thus, these last few games of spring, including the duo next week at the Arizona Diamondbacks in the big-boy stadium, are playing out the string. Carlos Rodón led the effort on Friday, turning a planned three-inning start into two, courtesy of an endless first inning that saw Mike Trout hit a clothesliner out to left to put the Angels up, 3-0.

Rodón, as his fellow starters have sounded all spring, was pretty upbeat in the aftermath of his shellacking:

Seven White Sox relievers took the final seven innings of the game, and acquitted themselves pretty well, with just two runs (one earned) the rest of the way.

Hunter Schryver was one White Sox hurler who did not put his best foot forward on Friday. He took over the ninth of a 4-4 game and nullified the dumbest rule (spring or not) in baseball history, placing a runner on second base in a tie game, by walking not one, not two, but three runners. For those of you keeping score at home (and if you were, you wanna finish this recap?), that’s three walks, and one crazy-ass walk off.

Torii Hunter Jr. scored the game-winning run, after starting the inning automatically placed at second base. Hunter was coming off of a game-saving catch against the right-field wall to end the White Sox half of the ninth, as Preston Tucker clobbered a deep fly with runners on second and third.

Ain’t that always the way, the guy who makes a dramatic catch to save the game to end one half of an inning is robotically placed at second base to lead off the next?

The leadoff spot accounted for three of the White Sox’s seven hits on the day, with Leury (Just Try to Move Me Off of Leadoff, Ricky) García collecting two (including a solo homer to get the White Sox on the board in the third) and José Rondón one, a run-scoring double that gave Chicago its only lead of the game, 4-3, in the seventh.

The White Sox did walk eight times, to only seven strikeouts, a ratio I daresay you won’t see again all season. Yoán Moncada took two of them, Yonder Alonso another two, to add to his third double of the spring.

Otherwise, not a ton more to write about on this one. It’s mostly just been a day to savor the Eloy extension, really; any wins before Thursday’s opener are just gravy.

Tomorrow, the 8-17 White Sox return home to Camelback Ranch, where they’ll play the Los Angeles Dodgers as the road team. Manny Bañuelos gets his final spring start, and given Santana’s status and/or the slow open to the regular season, it could be the lefty’s last start for a long time. Game time is 2:05 p.m. CT, with the broadcast available at WhiteSox.com.

Just for kicks, I’ll leave you with Don Cooper chatting up the booth about, of all things, Lucas Giolito: